A leaked draft opinion shows a majority of Supreme Court justices plan to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case which legalized abortion nationwide more than 50 years ago.
Although the decision isn’t final, Virginia lawmakers on both sides say the leak undermines confidence in the Supreme Court and will have wide-range political consequences.
“The Supreme Court, one of the reasons why it has been the court of last resort is that it’s always been viewed as beyond politics,” Democratic Virginia Senator Mark Warner says.
While justices can change their votes before a final decision, local lawmakers say the ruling has to potential to shake up this year’s election.
Mass demonstrations and protests in favor of abortion rights are in the midterms spotlight, an election that was set to be dominated by rising inflation and the economy.
“I think this was one of the clerks for the liberal justices’ blatant attempt to try to intimidate the justices and to try to sway voters in the upcoming elections,” Republican Congressman Bob Good says.
“I think elections matter,” Warner says. “I urge people to get out. This is an issue of concern, vote this fall.”
Democratic congressional leaders want to get rid of the filibuster and pass legislation that codifies abortion rights in the United States.
The Senate would vote, again, on making the right to an abortion law by taking up the Women’s Health Protection Act.
“What Congress needs to do is try to provide a guarantee that no matter what zip code you live in, you will be able to make your own reproductive decisions,” Democratic Virginia Senator Tim Kaine says.
“This is what the Democrats do when they can’t win at the ballot box and they can’t win through the election,” Good says. “They try to tear down the institutions, burn it down, whether it’s to pack the Senate, to pack the court, to add statehood to D.C. or Puerto Rico, to change the filibuster rules, this is what they do.”
Democrats do not have 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster, and a similar vote already failed this year. They say they’re searching for new strategies.
The leak is being investigated and the Supreme Court’s final decision is expected to come in late June or early July.